Master of Science in Marine Science

We’re excited to announce that
the Master of Science in Marine Science program
now has TWO distinctive tracks available!

Our new Applied Track (MSMS-A) is designed to provide our graduates with the knowledge and skills to be successful in a variety of marine-related technical positions in industry, government, and education while the Thesis Track (MSMS-T) is designed to facilitate entry into a doctoral program, research, and the academic setting.


R/V Kaholo

Beginning Fall 2014, the applied track provides students with a broad-based, in-depth knowledge of physical, geological, chemical, and ecological processes in the ocean coupled with the technical skills necessary to contribute to the exploration of the marine environment and the management of its living resources.  Because the MSMS-A is designed primarily for students seeking careers in applied resource management, this program emphasizes the practical skills and the analytical expertise required to monitor and manage the global ocean system. 

After completion of the core courses, applied track students will be required to take a comprehensive examination.  The exam will have written and oral components to demonstrate both competency in the main marine science disciplines and strength of communication skills.  The applied track culminates in a hands-on practicum experience working directly with marine resource management professionals to make connections and earn a distinct educational advantage.  Full-time students should expect to take 3-4 courses each semester and be able to complete the track in as little as 18 months.


Our established thesis track is a research-based program that emphasizes a hands-on approach to learning through the completion of an original thesis project under the direct mentorship of an experienced marine science researcher. The purpose of the T-track is to give students the opportunity to develop a strong foundation in research methodology.  Individualized programs of study ensure that each student has the best possible preparation based on their interests, background, and abilities.  MSMS-T students take core and elective courses while engaging in an intensive, independent research project.  Students work side-by-side with a faculty mentor to discover or synthesize knowledge that contributes to the field of marine science.

In the first year, students will select a committee and complete a proposal for their thesis research topic. Research is conducted through the next year, culminating in an oral and written presentation and defense of a thesis. Full-time students should expect to take three courses per semester and finish in 4-6 semesters, depending on scope of project and commitment of time.

PrerequisitesMSMS track requirements

A baccalaureate degree in the natural sciences is required for entry into the MSMS program. Certain course prerequisites may be required before enrolling in graduate MSMS courses, depending on the student’s academic preparation and research interests. For students in the thesis track, the graduate thesis committee will determine whether any deficiencies exist and how these deficiencies will be addressed.  Additionally, being paired with a faculty mentor is necessary for acceptance into the MSMS-T program.